A Pentlands hike: Part one

Saturday I set off on another hiking date, this time to the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh. It was my first time in the Pentlands, and I was excited to explore this series of hills that forms the backdrop of the city.

It was the first weekend day of decent weather in what felt like months, and the landscape sparkled. Scotland is often cloudy, but when it's not there is a clarity to the light and air that is spectacular.

The hike began with a short road section, but soon enough we were off into the woods. Here's an excellent illustration of my arboroculture tutor's maxim, "Trees seal, they don't heal."

Border collies were the trail dogs of the day. I saw at least 10 before the hike was over, and each one made me miss hiking with my own black-and-white, four-legged companion back home in the U.S.

Below, Vicia cracca, or Tufted Vetch.

I had to peek over a rose-covered wall to get a better view of this darling cottage and garden, with a tractor parked in the drive. It looked like a Scottish incarnation of my farm in Virginia.

The path swung around a reservoir where serious-looking men were fly-fishing, and we continued around the water for a while before beginning to climb into the heather fields.

Up next: changing habitats with elevation and the view from the top.